After 10 years as the host of The Late Late Show Craig Ferguson is leaving. The move comes after Ferguson was turned down to replace David Letterman, who will be replaced next year by Stephen Colbert. Ferguson has denied that he wanted to replace Letterman, but the timing is interesting given that just weeks ago he was passed up for the gig. Ferguson said in his announcement, “CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are ‘consciously uncoupling’.” Ferguson will keep the role until his contract expires in December.
Craig Ferguson is hitting the bricks after 10 years on The Late Late Show failed to lead to the big gig.
“CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are ‘consciously uncoupling,’” Ferguson said in a statement, “but we will still spend holidays together and share custody of the fake horse and robot skeleton, both of whom we love very much.”
Ferguson was well-liked by the network and enjoyed a loyal cult following, but never emerged as the heir apparent to David Letterman, whose Late Show will hand the keys over to Stephen Colbert sometime late next year. And even though Ferguson has repeatedly said he didn’t want Letterman’s job, it’s no surprise he’s stepping down after being officially passed over.
Multiple sources have said the past few weeks have been tense for employees of the Late Late Show, after Mashable first reported that Colbert was the network’s No. 1 choice to take over for the retiring Letterman. Uncertainty continued with multiple trade reports that Chelsea Handler was being considered for the network’s 12:30 slot, which CBS has firmly denied (and now it’s being reported that Handler is going to Netflix. We’ll see.)
Ferguson broke the news to his studio audience Monday that he will end his run in December, which fulfills a contract extension he signed in 2012.
“During his 10 years as host, Craig has elevated CBS to new creative and competitive heights at 12:30,” CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler said in a statement. “He infused the broadcast with tremendous energy, unique comedy, insightful interviews and some of the most heartfelt monologues seen on television.”
The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson won a Peabody Award in 2009, and Ferguson himself was nominated for an Emmy in 2006. Ferguson has plenty to keep him busy; he’s the host of the syndicated Celebrity Name Game, which starts in fall, and is developing other TV projects through his production company.
Now the search begins for Ferguson’s replacement, as it’s likely that CBS will look to sustain a strong lead out from Letterman, and later Colbert. It also means there’s another open seat in the late-night landscape, as the search is already on for a show to take Colbert’s slot on Comedy Central — which the cable network says could be filled by just about anything.